The New York Times’s Ten Best Films

1920 | 1921 | 1922 | 1923 | 1924 | 1925 | 1926 | 1927 | 1928 | 1929 | 1930 | 1931 | 1932 | 1933 | 1934 | 1935 | 1936 | 1937 | 1938 | 1939 | 1940 | 1941 | 1942 | 1943 | 1944 | 1945 | 1946 | 1947 | 1948 | 1949 | 1950


1923

  • The Covered Wagon (1923, James Cruze)
  • A Woman of Paris: A Drama of Fate (1923, Charles Chaplin)
  • Scaramouche (1923, Rex Ingram)
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923, Wallace Worsley)
  • The Green Goddess (1923, Sidney Olcott)
  • Rosita (1923, Ernst Lubitsch)
  • Hollywood (1923, James Cruze)
  • Anna Christie (1923, John Griffith Wray)
  • Little Old New York (1923, Sidney Olcott)
  • When Knighthood Was in Flower (1922, Robert G. Vignola)

“The Year in Review.” The New York Times, 6 Jan. 1924, p. X5.

1924

  • The Dramatic Life of Abraham Lincoln (1924, Phil Rosen)
  • The Thief of Bagdad (1924, Raoul Walsh)
  • Beau Brummell (1924, Harry Beaumont)
  • Merton of the Movies (1924, James Cruze)
  • Sea Hawk (1924, Frank Lloyd)
  • He Who Gets Slapped (1924, Victor Sjöström)
  • The Marriage Circle (1924, Ernst Lubitsch)
  • In Hollywood with Potash and Perlmutter (1924, Alfred E. Green)
  • Peter Pan (1924, Herbert Brenon)
  • Isn’t Life Wonderful (1924, D.W. Griffith)

Hall, Mordaunt. “The Best of More Than 200 Films Shown on Broadway.” The New York Times, 4 Jan. 1925, p. X5.

1925

  • The Big Parade (1925, King Vidor)
  • The Last Laugh (1924, F.W. Murnau)
  • The Unholy Three (1925, Tod Browning)
  • The Gold Rush (1925, Charles Chaplin)
  • The Merry Widow (1925, Erich von Stroheim)
  • The Dark Angel (1925, George Fitzmaurice)
  • Don Q, Son of Zorro (1925, Donald Crisp)
  • Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925, Fred Niblo)
  • Stella Dallas (1925, Henry King)
  • A Kiss for Cinderella (1925, Herbert Brenon)

Hall, Mordaunt. “Ten Best Films of 1925 Helped by Late Influx.” The New York Times, 10 Jan. 1926, p. X5.

1926

  • Jealousy (1925, Ewald André Dupont)
  • Beau Geste (1926, Herbert Brenon)
  • What Price Glory (1926, Raoul Walsh)
  • Battleship Potemkin (1925, Sergei M. Eisenstein)
  • The Grand Duchess and the Waiter (1926, Malcolm St. Clair)
  • The Black Pirate (1926, Albert Parker)
  • Old Ironsides (1926, James Cruze)
  • Moana (1926, Robert J. Flaherty)
  • La Boheme (1926, King Vidor)
  • So This Is Paris (1926, Ernst Lubitsch)

Hall, Mordaunt. “The Year’s Best Films: Outstanding 1926 Pictures Hail From America, Germany and Russia.” The New York Times, 2 Jan. 1927, p. X7.

1927

  • The King of Kings (1927, Cecil B. DeMille)
  • Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness (1927, Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack)
  • The Way of All Flesh (1927, Victor Fleming)
  • Wings (1927, William A. Wellman)
  • 7th Heaven (1927, Frank Borzage)
  • Sunrise (1927, F.W. Murnau)
  • Service for Ladies (1927, Harry d’Abbadie d’Arrast)
  • Quality Street (1927, Sidney Franklin)
  • Underworld (1927, Josef von Sternberg)
  • Stark Love (1927, Karl Brown)

Hall, Mordaunt. “The Best Pictures of Past Year: 314 Films Launched in Broadway Area in 1927 Against Few More Than 200 in 1926–’The Enemy’.” The New York Times, 1 Jan. 1928, p. X7.

1928

  • The Circus (1928, Charles Chaplin)
  • Street Angel (1928, Frank Borzage)
  • Czar Ivan the Terrible (1928, Juri Taritch)
  • The Last Command (1928, Josef von Sternberg)
  • White Shadows of the South Seas (1928, W.S. Van Dyke)
  • The Patriot (1928, Ernst Lubitsch)
  • The End of St. Petersburg (1927, Mikhail Doller and Vsevolod Pudovkin)
  • Show People (1928, King Vidor)
  • Homecoming (1928, Joe May)
  • 4 Devils (1928, F.W. Murnau)

Hall, Mordaunt. “Annual Film Survey: Emil Jannings Has Two Films in a List of Outstanding Achievements.” The New York Times, 6 Jan. 1929, p. 119.

1929

  • The Love Parade (1929, Ernst Lubitsch)
  • Disraeli (1929, Alfred E. Green)
  • Hallelujah (1929, King Vidor)
  • The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928, Carl Theodor Dreyer)
  • The Taming of the Shrew (1929, Sam Taylor)
  • Bulldog Drummond (1929, F. Richard Jones)
  • They Had to See Paris (1929, Frank Borzage)
  • The Sky Hawk (1929, John G. Blystone)
  • The Virginian (1929, Victor Fleming)
  • Sally (1929, John Francis Dillon)

Hall, Mordaunt. “The Best Ten Films: 384 Screen Productions Shown Last Year In Broadway Area.” The New York Times, 5 Jan. 1930, p. X6.

1930

  • With Byrd at the South Pole (1930)
  • All Quiet on the Western Front (1930, Lewis Milestone)
  • Journey’s End (1930, James Whale)
  • Lightnin’ (1930, Henry King)
  • The Devil to Pay (1930, George Fitzmaurice)
  • Outward Bound (1930, Robert Milton)
  • Tom Sawyer (1930, John Cromwell)
  • Holiday (1930, Edward H. Griffith)
  • Abraham Lincoln (1930, D.W. Griffith)
  • Anna Christie (1930, Clarence Brown)

Hall, Mordaunt. “Last Year’s Best Films: 390 Screen Features Including a Few Silent Ones, Presented Here in Twelve Months.” The New York Times, 4 Jan. 1931, p. X5.

1931

  • The Guardsman (1931, Sidney Franklin)
  • City Lights (1931, Charles Chaplin)
  • The Smiling Lieutenant (1931, Ernst Lubitsch)
  • Arrowsmith (1931, John Ford)
  • Tabu: A Story of the South Seas (1931, F.W. Murnau)
  • Bad Girl (1931, Frank Borzage)
  • Frankenstein (1931, James Whale)
  • Skippy (1931, Norman Taurog)
  • Private Lives (1931, Sidney Franklin)
  • A Connecticut Yankee (1931, David Butler)

Hall, Mordaunt. “Blue-Ribbon Pictures of 1931: “The Guardsman” Heads List of Best Ten–Average for Year is High–Outstanding Foreign Productions.” The New York Times, 3 Jan. 1932, p. X5.

1932

  • Mädchen in Uniform (1932, Leontine Sagan)
  • Trouble in Paradise (1932, Ernst Lubitsch)
  • The Theft of the Mona Lisa (1931, Géza von Bolváry)
  • Grand Hotel (1932, Edmund Goulding)
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1932, Rouben Mamoulian)
  • The Mouthpiece (1932, James Flood and Elliot Nugent)
  • One Hour With You (1932, Ernst Lubitsch)
  • A Bill of Divorcement (1932, George Cukor)
  • The Doomed Battalion (1932, Cyril Gardner)
  • Reserved for Ladies (1932, Alexander Korda)

Hall, Mordaunt. “The Outstanding Ten and a List of Fifty Worthy Productions–Foreign Offerings.” The New York Times, 1 Jan. 1933, p. X5.

1933

  • Cavalcade (1933, Frank Lloyd)
  • Reunion in Vienna (1933, Sidney Franklin)
  • Dawn (1933, Gustav Ucicky)
  • State Fair (1933, Henry King)
  • Dinner at Eight (1933, George Cukor)
  • Berkeley Square (1933, Frank Lloyd)
  • The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933, Alexander Korda)
  • Little Women (1933, George Cukor)
  • The Invisible Man (1933, James Whale)
  • His Double Life (1933, Arthur Hopkins)

Hall, Mordaunt. “The Outstanding Pictorial Features of 1933: The Blue Ribbon Films and Fifty Others Worthy of Honorable Mention.” The New York Times, 31 Dec. 1933, p. X5.

1934

  • It Happened One Night (1934, Frank Capra)
  • The Thin Man (1934, W.S. Van Dyke)
  • Man of Aran (1934, Robert J. Flaherty)
  • The House of Rothschild (1934, Alfred L. Werker)
  • Our Daily Bread (1934, King Vidor)
  • The Lost Patrol (1934, John Ford)
  • The Battle (1934, Nicolas Farkas and Victor Tourjansky)
  • The First World War (1934)
  • One Night of Love (1934, Victor Schertzinger)
  • The Rise of Catherine the Great (1934, Paul Czinner)

Sennwald, Andre. “A Backward Look at the 1934 Cinema: In Which the Department, With a Deprecatory Shrug, Selects The Outstanding Films of a Crowded Year.” The New York Times, 30 Dec. 1934, p. X5.

1935

  1. The Informer (1935, John Ford)
  2. Mutiny on the Bounty (1935, Frank Lloyd)
  3. The 39 Steps (1935, Alfred Hitchcock)
  4. Alice Adams (1935, George Stevens)
  5. David Copperfield (1935, George Cukor)
  6. Ruggles of Red Gap (1935, Leo McCarey)
  7. Sequoia (1934, Chester M. Franklin)
  8. The Scoundrel (1935, Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur)
  9. Lives of a Bengal Lancer (1935, Henry Hathaway)
  10. Les Miserables (1935, Richard Boleslawski)

Sennwald, Andre. “Best Ten, More or Less: Being the Annual Laurel-Tossing Game, Played Not Too Earnestly.” The New York Times, 5 Jan. 1936, p. X5.

1936

  1. Carnival in Flanders (1935, Jacques Feyder)
  2. Fury (1936, Fritz Lang)
  3. Dodsworth (1936, William Wyler)
  4. Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936, Frank Capra)
  5. Winterset (1936, Alfred Santell)
  6. Romeo and Juliet (1936, George Cukor)
  7. The Green Pastures (1936, Marc Connelly and William Keighley)
  8. The Ghost Goes West (1936, René Clair)
  9. The Story of Louis Pasteur (1936, William Dieterle)
  10. These Three (1936, William Wyler)
  11. The Great Ziegfeld (1936, Robert Z. Leonard)

Nugent, Frank S. “Guerdons Well Earned: Being the Inevitable Selection of the Years Best Ten, or Eleven, Pictures.” The New York Times, 3 Jan. 1937, p. X5.

1937

  1. The Life of Emila Zola (1937, William Dieterle)
  2. The Good Earth (1937, Sidney Franklin)
  3. Stage Door (1937, Gregory La Cava)
  4. Captains Courageous (1937, Victor Fleming)
  5. They Won’t Forget (1937, Mervyn LeRoy)
  6. Make Way for Tomorrow (1937, Leo McCarey)
  7. I Met Him in Paris (1937, Wesley Ruggles)
  8. A Star Is Born (1937, William A. Wellman)
  9. Camille (1937, George Cukor)
  10. Lost Horizon (1937, Frank Capra)

Nugent, Frank S. “Ten Best, in a Pickwickian Sense: Which Means Simply That a Reviewer, Having Made His List, Refuses to Lie in It, and Beats a Hasty Retreat.” The New York Times, 2 Jan. 1938, p. 127.

1938

  1. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1938, William Cottrell, Wilfred Jackson, Larry Morey, Perce Pearce, Ben Sharpsteen and David Hand)
  2. The Citadel (1938, King Vidor)
  3. To the Victor (1938, Robert Stevenson)
  4. Pygmalion (1938, Anthony Asquith and Leslie Howard)
  5. A Slight Case of Murder (1938, Lloyd Bacon)
  6. Three Comrades (1938, Frank Borzage)
  7. The Lady Vanishes (1938, Alfred Hitchcock)
  8. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938, Michael Curtiz and William Keighley)
  9. A Man to Remember (1938, Garson Kanin)
  10. Four Daughters (1938, Michael Curtiz)

Nugent, Frank S. “Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Mo.” The New York Times, 1 Jan. 1939, p. 99.

1939

  1. Made for Each Other (1939, John Cromwell)
  2. Stagecoach (1939, John Ford)
  3. Wuthering Heights (1939, William Wyler)
  4. Dark Victory (1939, Edmund Goulding)
  5. Juarez (1939, William Dieterle)
  6. Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939, Sam Wood)
  7. The Women (1939, George Cukor)
  8. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939, Frank Capra)
  9. Ninotchka (1939, Ernst Lubitsch)
  10. Gone With the Wind (1939, Victor Fleming )

Nugent, Frank S. “Ring Out The Old Screen Year, Ring In The New: Tradition Dictates Another ‘Ten-Best’ and It Also Compels Its Compiler to Offer His Excuses in Advance.” The New York Times, 31 Dec. 1939, p. 89.

1940

  1. The Grapes of Wrath (1940, John Ford)
  2. The Baker’s Wife (1938, Marcel Pagnol)
  3. Rebecca (1940, Alfred Hitchcock)
  4. Our Town (1940, Sam Wood)
  5. The Mortal Storm (1940, Frank Borzage)
  6. Pride and Prejudice (1940, Robert Z. Leonard)
  7. The Great McGinty (1940, Preston Sturges)
  8. The Long Voyage Home (1940, John Ford)
  9. The Great Dictator (194, Charles Chaplin)
  10. Fantasia (1940, James Algar, Samuel Armstrong, Ford Beebe Jr., Norman Ferguson, Jim Handley, T. Hee, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Bill Roberts, Paul Satterfield, and Ben Sharpsteen)

Crowther, Bosley. “Again The ‘Ten Best’: Variety and Quality Are Notable in the Annual List of Outstanding Films.” The New York Times, 29 Dec. 1940, p. X5.

1941

  1. The Lady Eve (1941, Preston Sturges)
  2. Citizen Kane (1941, Orson Welles)
  3. Major Barbara (1941, Gabriel Pascal)
  4. Sergeant York (1941, Howard Hawks)
  5. The Stars Look Down (1940, Carol Reed)
  6. Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941, Alexander Hall)
  7. Target for Tonight (1941, Harry Watt)
  8. Dumbo (1941, Samuel Armstrong, Norman Ferguson, Wilfred Jackson, Jack Kinney, Bill Roberts, andBen Sharpsteen)
  9. How Green Was My Valley (1941, John Ford)
  10. One Foot in Heaven (1941, Irving Rapper)

Crowther, Bosley. “In the Charmed Circle: According to Custom, This Corner Picks The Outstanding Films of the Year.” The New York Times, 28 Dec. 1941, p. X5.

1942

  • In Which We Serve (1942, Noël Coward and David Lean)
  • Journey for Margaret (1942, W.S. Van Dyke)
  • Casablanca (1942, Michael Curtiz)
  • One of Our Aircraft Is Missing (1942, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger)
  • Wake Island (1942, John Farrow)
  • Mrs. Miniver (1942, William Wyler)
  • Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942, Michael Curtiz)
  • The Gold Rush (1925, Charles Chaplin), the director’s cut
  • Woman of the Year (1942, George Stevens)
  • Sullivan’s Travels (1941, Preston Sturges)

Crowther, Bosley. “One More Year: The War’s Effect Is Noted in the Films of 1942, Including the ‘Ten Best’.” The New York Times, 27 Dec. 1942, p. X3.

1943

  • Air Force (1943, Howard Hawks)
  • Desert Victory (1943, Roy Boulting and David MacDonald)
  • The Ox-Bow Incident (1943, William A. Wellman)
  • The More the Merrier (1943, George Stevens)
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943, Sam Wood)
  • Report From the Aleutians (1943, John Huston)
  • Watch on the Rhine (1943, Herman Shumlin)
  • Corvette K-225 (1943, Richard Rosson)
  • Sahara (1943, Zoltan Korda)
  • Madame Curie (1943, Mervyn LeRoy)

Crowther, Bosley. “The Cream of the 1943 Crop: Looking Back Upon Those Pictures–Particularly the Best–Which Arrived During the Year.” The New York Times, 26 Dec. 1943, p. X3.

1944

  • Destination Tokyo (1943, Delmer Daves)
  • The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek (1944, Preston Sturges)
  • The Purple Heart (1944, Lewis Milestone)
  • Going My Way (1944, Leo McCarey)
  • Wilson (1944, Henry King)
  • Hail the Conquering Hero (1944, Preston Sturges)
  • Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944, Mervyn LeRoy)
  • None But the Lonely Heart (1944, Clifford Odets)
  • Meet Me in St. Louis (1944, Vincente Minnelli)
  • National Velvet (1944, Clarence Brown)

Crowther, Bosley. “Honors and Awards: Some Critical Considerations of the Year’s Achievements On the Screen the Year’s ‘Best’ Herewith the Annual Selection of Top Films and Personalities.” The New York Times, 31 Dec. 1944, p. X1.

1945

  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945, Elia Kazan)
  • The Way Ahead (1944, Carol Reed)
  • Anchors Aweigh (1945, George Sidney)
  • Pride of the Marines (1945, Delmer Daves)
  • The House on 92nd Street (1945, Henry Hathaway)
  • Story of G.I. Joe (1945, William A. Wellman)
  • Spellbound (1945, Alfred Hitchcock)
  • The Last Chance (1945, Leopold Lindtberg)
  • The Lost Weekend (1945, Billy Wilder)
  • They Were Expendable (1945, John Ford)

Crowther, Bosley. “Again, the Ten Best: The Incomparables the Ten Best and Runners-Up Mentionables.” The New York Times, 30 Dec. 1945, p. 19.

1946

  • Rome, Open City (1945, Roberto Rossellini)
  • Road to Utopia (1945, Hal Walker)
  • The Green Years (1946, Victor Saville)
  • Henry V (1944, Laurence Olivier)
  • Notorious (1946, Alfred Hitchcock)
  • Brief Encounter (1945, David Lean)
  • The Well-Digger’s Daughter (1940, Marcel Pagnol)
  • The Best Years of Our Lives (1946, William Wyler)
  • My Darling Clementine (1946, John Ford)
  • A Matter of Life and Death (1946, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger)

Crowther, Bosley. “The ‘Ten Best’: Five Foreign Films Among the 1946 Leaders Those ‘Ten Best’.” The New York Times, 29 Dec. 1946, p. 39.

1947

  • The Yearling (1946, Clarence Brown)
  • Great Expectations (1946, David Lean)
  • Miracle on 34th Street (1947, George Seaton)
  • Crossfire (1947, Edward Dmytryk)
  • Life With Father (1947, Michael Curtiz)
  • Shoeshine (1946, Shoe Shine)
  • Gentleman’s Agreement (1947, Elia Kazan)
  • To Live in Peace (1947, Luigi Zampa)
  • The Bishop’s Wife (1947, Henry Koster)
  • The Fugitive (1947, John Ford)

Crowther, Bosley. “‘Ten Best’ Films: Hollywood Leads, 7-3, Against Foreign Productions On Critic’s List.” The New York Times, 28 Dec. 1947, p. X1.

1948

  • The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948, John Huston)
  • The Pearl (1948, Emilio Fernández)
  • The Search (1948, Fred Zinnemann)
  • A Foreign Affair (1948, Billy Wilder)
  • Louisiana Story (1948, Robert J. Flaherty)
  • Hamlet (1948, Laurence Olivier)
  • Johnny Belinda (1948, Jean Negulesco)
  • Apartment for Peggy (1948, George Seaton)
  • The Red Shoes (1948, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger)
  • The Snake Pit (1948, Anatole Litvak)

Crowther, Bosley. “‘Ten Best’ Films: Critic Comments on the Pictures of 1948.” The New York Times, 26 Dec. 1948, p. X1.

1949

  • Command Decision (1948, Sam Wood)
  • A Letter to Three Wives (1949, Joseph L. Mankiewicz)
  • The Quiet One (1948, Sidney Meyers)
  • Lost Boundaries (1949, Alfred L. Werker)
  • Pinky (1949, Elia Kazan)
  • The Heiress (1949, William Wyler)
  • All the King’s Men (1949, Robert Rossen)
  • Battleground (1949, William A. Wellman)
  • The Fallen Idol (1948, Carol Reed)
  • Intruder in the Dust (1949, Clarence Brown)

Crowther, Bosley. “Best Films of 1949: Herewith Are Cited the Outstanding Pictures and Trends of the Year.” The New York Times, 25 Dec. 1949, p. X1.

1950

  • The Titan: Story of Michelangelo (1950, Robert J. Flaherty, Curt Oertel, and Richard Lyford)
  • Twelve O’Clock High (1949, Henry King)
  • Father of the Bride (1950, Vincente Minnelli)
  • The Asphalt Jungle (1950, John Huston)
  • Destination Moon (1950, Irving Pichel)
  • The Men (1950, Fred Zinnemann)
  • Sunset Boulevard (1950, Billy Wilder)
  • Trio (1950, Ken Annakin and Harold French)
  • All About Eve (1950, Joseph L. Mankiewicz)
  • Born Yesterday (1950, George Cukor)

Crowther, Bosley. “The Year’s Best: An Approval of the Outstanding Films and the Annual Critics’ Awards.” The New York Times, 31 Dec. 1950, p. X1.

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